A profound conversion

Louis J. Marinelli, after becoming one of the driving forces behind the movement to fight gay marriage, has had a profound change of heart. His blog post announcing his newfound support for marriage equality is quite powerful and moving:

Whether it is an issue of disbelief, shame or embarrassment, the one thing that is for sure is that I have come to this point after several months of an internal conflict with myself. That conflict gradually tore away at me until recently when I was able to for the first time simply admit to myself that I do in fact support civil marriage equality.

While I have come to terms with this reality internally, speaking about it, even with the closest members of my family, has proven to be something difficult for me to do.

In short, if there is an issue of disbelief surrounding my newfound support for civil marriage equality, it is disbelief from those who surround me. If there is an issue of shame, it is a result of acknowledging the number of people I have targeted, hurt and oppressed. And if there is an issue of embarrassment, its roots lie in the face-to-face encounters I have had and expect to have with those with whom I once toiled over this very contentious issue.

In an interview with TPM, he said his time on an anti-gay marriage bus tour was the catalyst for his conversion: “I remember verbally asking myself, why am I here?” Marinelli said of his time on the bus tour.”Why am I doing this? And that’s what I said would be the tipping point, when I realized, okay, that’s not right. I’m not doing something that was right.”

Marinelli said the key for him was understanding the difference between civil marriage sanctioned by the state and holy matrimony sanctioned by the church. The Catholic Church and other religious organizations should be free, he said, to refuse to recognize anything other than marriage between one man and one woman. But civil marriage should be an equal institution. “The constitution calls for nothing less.”

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